Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”, the upcoming “The Avengers”) will star opposite Tom Cruise in “Mission : Impossible 4″.
As previously reported, Paramount agreed to bankroll a third sequel in the Cruise-centric series so long as the big guy took a pay cut and agreed to share the screen with another actor, therefore making the film less of a ‘Tom Cruise Vehicle’ and more of a ‘two-hander’.
Rumours of Cruise’s Ethan Hunt splitting up an adventure with another IMF agent have been around for years (which goes to show you how long Cruise hasn’t been the ‘biggest star in the world’ he was in the ’80s and ’90s) with Brad Pitt once rumoured to be joining the franchise.
Renner, nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Hurt Locker” and next in Ben Affleck’s “The Town”, will be that second hand.
Says Deadline, “Paramount has struggled to find the right co-star to play the operative opposite Cruise. One factor was selecting an actor who could potentially carry the series on his own down the line, should Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character not continue to be the emphasis. While Cruise is expected to return for a fifth installment, production chief Adam Goodman wanted a guy who could grow into a leading man in his own right. The studio boss was interested in actors like Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, but they were booked. So the studio planned to test a group of young actors later this week, and Deadline spent all Tuesday going back and forth with the studio over candidates Kevin Zegers, Christopher Egan and Anthony Mackie (the latter of whom starred with Renner in The Hurt Locker). But it was clear that Paramount wasn’t sure what it was going to do. Those tests have been canceled now (Mackie, another seasoned actor poised for a breakout, ultimately pulled himself out of the running and didn’t sign a test deal.) Goodman, sources said, felt Renner’s “has a Daniel Craig quality” and the heft to carry the franchise.”
Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are also onboard the Brad Bird-directed “Mission : Impossible 4″ while Amber Heard, Noomi Rapace and Jacinda Barrett have reportedly tested for one of the female leads.
Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec wrote the script.